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The governor is recruiting green-collar jobs to Tennessee and starting a Solar Institute to position the state to compete in the future economy. For their part, Senate Republicans are pushing a knee-jerk resolution
declaring the state's absolute refusal to participate in any "federally mandated" carbon cap-and-trade system. That's President Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change so, of course, the party of no is against it.
The resolution's sponsor--Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Jurassic Park--postponed the vote this morning after Democrats raised objections. In a rare moment of lucidity for the Senate, the resolution's critics actually made good arguments--the main one being that no one knows what form Obama's cap-and-trade proposal will eventually take or whether it'll pass Congress at all. Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, said:
"We're taking a position on something that we don't know what it does. I don't want to vote for something if I don't know if it's true. I haven't seen the plan. What is it? Congress is trying to deal with an issue of great magnitude and complexity. It's very likely to change before it achieves a majority vote in the Congress."
Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, made the larger point that members of his party ought to be hammering home at every opportunity: While the economy burns, the new Republican majority is Nashville is playing in the sandbox. Here's some of what Berke said:
"Our middle-class families are hurting in ways that I certainly have never seen. When I go home on the weekend, Republicans and Democrats alike come up to me amazed by what's going on up here. They have a simple question: 'What are y'all going to do to help us?'
"If we were serious about addressing this issue in our body, we might be considering a resolution outlining what we would support rather than playing politics ... I rise today to say enough. We need to focus on progress, not posturing. We should be here for discussions of our future, not diversions of our past."